This week we went to some concerts
The Tastebuds team has been out and about around London this week, checking out the latest in sweet Swedish pop and cosmic synth-explosions. Here’s what went down.
Jens Lekman at Heaven – Monday 17th October
Last time I saw Jens he brought with him a full band of mono-coloured-clothed beauties. This time around he was mostly on his own, with occasional sparse accompaniment from his drummer. As a result it was a more down-played, acoustic affair. It wasn’t any less charming though.
The stripped back versions of classics Black Cab and And I Remember Every Kiss were both highlights for me. Before playing Waiting for Kirsten, a track from his new EP, he told us a story about how he tried to meet Kirsten Dunst (a fan, apparently) in a nightclub. Unfortunately she didn’t manage to get in to the club, hence the refrain “In Gothenburg they don’t have VIP bars.”.
Towards the end, he started to lighten up with the introduction of the backing track beats and samples for the likes of The Opposite of Hallelujah and Sipping on the Sweet Water – both treats. It’s a while since I’ve been to a show with 2 encores but Jens was clearly in the mood tonight, evidenced by his playing of the classic A Postcard to Nina, without the introductory story this time (he probably presumed we’d all heard it) – his first time to play it in ages apparently. It’s a fine line between schmaltz and charm but Jens pulls it off.
Keith Fullerton Whitman at CAMP – Tuesday 18th October
Prior to my friend Tom inviting me to see this guy I had never heard of him before. I gave a few of his tracks a listen which I found to be very interesting and experimental, so I was intrigued.
I wasn’t that impressed when I arrived as the supporting act put me off a little bit, some guy with a saxophone humming and moaning in between his notes, at this point I was dreading what was to follow. But in all honesty I was blown away by Keith’s performance, the whole 45-50mins just whizzed by, literally. Whitman started off slowly building up his piece with some sustained loops, ever so slowly creating the ambience of what was to follow. Over time he added and layered this amazing set of bleeps and signals ultimately creating this incredible visual quality.
Afterwards me and my group of friends were all wondering what the hell happened. Everyone had their own description of what they were reminded of, I recall hearing 2001 Space Odyssey, Tron or some kind of space madness .
We discussed how the piece allowed such an opening for interpretation. Whitman’s cosmic sounds of synth waves and abrasive modulations spun a story of space travel through the galaxy focusing on a transport ship and an eventual crash into a planets stratosphere for me. F**cking insane.
Hudson Mohawke at XOYO – Wednesday 19th October
Hudson Mohawke performed an astounding set at XOYO on Wednesday (19th of October). Hud Mo and his ramshackle of sounds created such an amazing atmosphere of electronic beats and bleeps. He really layed it down with this trademark bustout of histrionic beats and left field sounds. I’m pretty sure I heard a sample of Bjork’s voice in one song followed by some J Dilla-esque mixing which I thoroughly enjoyed; theres something about mixing old soul harmonies with contemporary beats that i can’t get enough of. Another feature of Hud Mo that I do like is the sampling of video-game style sounds into a few of his pieces.
I personally enjoyed the maniacal pace that Hud Mo goes through when mixing and performing, he definitely exudes an appealing unconventionality with his tunes that just shows that that fractured dreamy sound by Hud Mo can be just as accessible.
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